LAURENS, S.C. (WSPA) – The Laurens Police Department and Laurens County Sheriff’s Office are each launching programs to help officers better communicate and work with people with disabilities.
“We realized there was a much greater need in the community,” said Laurens Police Chief Keith Grounsell.
The Laurens Police Department is inviting the public to register themselves or a loved one for the program.
They will be asked to fill out a form where they can explain the person’s disability and how officers should best interact with them. Once the form is filled out, the person will receive a sticker.
“We’ve created a sticker that we’ll put on people’s front doors to identify as we walk up,” explained Grounsell. “If we’re not notified on the radio prior to arriving, we’ll see that sticker on the door and know instantly that somebody inside has some sort of special needs.”
The information that is submitted will be sent to 911 dispatchers, who will inform an officer if they are being called to the home of a person who has registered for the program.
“By having prior knowledge of certain factors that can contribute to the, escalating the situation, we can have an appropriate response and hopefully not have to use any type of force,” said Grounsell.
The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office has launched a similar program.
“It gives us a heads up to know what we’re facing and, in turn, know how to react or act,” said Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds. “It protects everybody on both sides.”
Those who sign up will also be asked to provide information about a person’s disability and methods of communication.
“It may be how quickly you move and what you say,” said Reynolds. “Our tone of voice and understanding goes a long way. We’ll do anything and everything we can to help.”
To sign up for the Laurens Police Department’s program, you can fill out a physical form by visiting the police department. You can also find the form online by clicking here. Forms can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To sign up for the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office’s program, you can fill out a physical form by visiting the sheriff’s office. You can also find the form online by clicking here.